Apple’s recent quarterly results were hardly a disaster by most major companies’ standards.
But they still represented the first drop in profits in 10 years, with iPhone and iPad sales down on the previous quarter, the former’s performance of special concern as Samsung continues to raise its game.
Tim Cook and co are by no means failing, but here are five things they need to do to get back to the days when they were taking down everything in front of them.
1 Don’t delay the iPhone 6 and budget iPhone
Tim Cook talked about ‘exciting products’ being released in autumn.
But while Apple has previous in being single-minded about what it thinks the market needs, delaying the iPhone 6 and, more importantly, its budget iPhone until then is surely madness.
Samsung and, to a lesser extent, HTC are releasing budget smartphones this summer and in WWDC, Apple has the perfect opportunity to marry up new software with improved hardware.
Hold back and expect profits to be down again in the next quarter.
2 Ensure iOS 7 is a revolutionary update
This is already highly likely, with Jony Ive said to have drafted in OS X engineers to help him fix what has been by Apple’s standards a total disaster.
iOS 6’s bugs and half-baked native apps showed that Cupertino’s software department had become slack.
By making iOS 7 look and feel different, it will also help answer charges that Apple’s operating system has become dated and old-fashioned next to rivals’ more ‘alive’ operating systems.
3 Ditch the hubris
Unlikely, but Apple’s hubris knows no bounds and needs to be curbed.
Despite the slip in sales and profits, Cook’s bullishness in the post results conference call showed someone who takes believing in his company to absurd heights.
His dismissal of larger smartphones smacked of desperation. We all know that Apple reversed Steve Jobs’ position on the iPad Mini, after the one-time company talisman called seven-inch tablets a waste of time.
Apple needs to focus on making great kit, not badmouthing the competition.
It’s dull and does nothing for its reputation for singularity and unwillingness to change.
4 Get PassBook up to scratch
Cook said mobile payments were still in their infancy earlier this week.
Fair enough, but isn’t that because the iPhone lacks NFC and its PassBook is an average excuse for a paperless payment solution?
More companies need to be brought on board and consumers told about its benefits.
Apple almost never talks up this feature, while Google sings from the rooftops about its Wallet solution.
Cupertino is in serious danger of being left behind in this area and has strides to make in order to keep up with rivals.
5 Up the screen size
We touched on this earlier, but the iPhone is crying out for a bigger panel.
Cook said there were issues with pixel density and white balance with bigger screens.
Tell that to your average punter.
This is another case of Apple refusing to believe that others might have got the jump on it and not developing accordingly. An iPhone phablet is essential.